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Remnant 2 would be a fun, brutal shooter—if it ever shut up

The new sequel to 2019's Remnant: From The Ashes does a lot of things right—and one minor, but extremely irritating, thing wrong

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Remnant 2
Remnant 2
Image: Gearbox Publishing

Every Friday, A.V. Club staffers kick off our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans and recent gaming glories, but of course, the real action is down in the comments, where we invite you to answer our eternal question: What Are You Playing This Weekend?

I creep across an alien landscape, strange, glowing spires looming above my head. In the distance, billowing clouds of poisonous fog obscure my vision, hiding the lurking presence of my foes. As I creep across the blighted sands of a distant world, a shadow emerges from the distance—sleek, well-armed, malevolent. I raise my rifle to begin the dance of combat and—


“Oh god, there they are!”

—pull the trigger. A few shots later, and the alien war machine falls, destroyed. I savor the brief moment of triumph—


“Thank god that’s over!”

—and reflect on how Remnant 2 would be a really fun video game … if it ever shut up.

It feels petty, when considering the scope of a game like Remnant 2—which comes out next week, and which ably expands on the “Dark Souls but it’s a shooter” gameplay of 2019’s Remnant: From The Ashes—to focus on something as minor as the fact that your player character will not stop verbally announcing every single time a fight begins and ends. The game improves on almost every element of the original game, after all: The shooting feels more satisfying, it teaches its systems with considerably more swiftness and skill, and it doesn’t force you to slog through two hours of boring-ass Earth levels before letting you loose on bizarre alien worlds.

And yet, video games are an experiential medium, and it feels like fully 25 percent of my experience with Remnant 2 has involved listening to some poor voice actor yell out variant lines on “Let’s do this!” and “Holy hell, I survived!” You have to understand: It’s every single fight. If a single enemy moves into your character’s threat radius, it gets a bark—and then another two seconds later, after it’s dead. The vocalizations do have a purpose, because Remnant 2, like its predecessor, randomizes its enemy spawning, so knowing whether you’re still in a fight or not isn’t always obvious. (Especially since a) most of the fighting happens at range, and b) the game is very comfortable throwing huge hordes of enemies at you at once.) But the relentlessness and repetitiveness of these lines genuinely starts to grate after even a few minutes in one of its dungeons, or big, beautifully strange landscapes.

Remnant 2 | Gameplay Overview | Surviving the Post-Apocalypse Trailer

This unceasing nattering is possibly more tolerable in co-op, which is one of the game’s key selling points, and which I haven’t had a chance to engage with in its pre-release period. (For the record, this write-up represents about 6 hours total with the game, i.e. a bit past the first major boss encounter—which, I’ll note, relentlessly kicked my ass on the second of the game’s four difficulty settings.) (And god bless developer Gunfire Games for including those, a rare nod to accessibility in this little sub-genre.) In solo play, though, the character comments are a constant distraction from the sense of solitary alien dread the game seeks to develop, as your character, a post-apocalyptic survivor built from one of several class templates, prowls abandoned laboratories and outposts on dead and dying worlds.


Betwixt the yelling, the combat itself is tense and sometimes overwhelming, forcing you to prioritize accurate gunplay, canny skill use, and all-important threat management to stay alive. There have been a couple of games that have tried to infuse guns into the Souls-like “every enemy in our game can kill you if you aren’t careful” template, but it’s never felt quite this good; the mix of skills and abilities, and the pace of the fights, feels like a genuine hybrid of frenetic shooter gameplay and that more methodical flavor of battle. In a key point, the enemies themselves have been tuned well to present interesting challenges for a gun-based hero, forcing you to blow off armor, aim for weak points, and manage on-rushing hordes in order to stay alive.

All of which is to say that I’m having a blast with Remnant 2 so far—as long as I drop the voice volume down to zero, at least.